First Annual Communications Alumni Panel
By Kristina Rowley
The major of communications is vast and can open a lot of doors and opportunities for students to be able to participate in many different career paths. For many students trying to figure out career goals and choices in the field of communications can be daunting because there are different choices that can be made it is hard to choose one concentration.
In order to help the students majoring in communications at Bowie State University with undergraduate and postgraduate career goals, BSU's chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America or PRSSA held their first annual communications alumni panel. The event was held on November 13, 2008 at 6 p.m. in the Center For Learning and Technology.
Dr. Tracie Babb, professor at Bowie State University and advisor to PRSSA, thought that the best way to aid students majoring in communications would be to construct a panel of alumni that have been successful after graduating from BSU's undergrad program in the field of communications. When Dr. Babb began the program she stressed how important and beneficial it is for current students to come and hear from a panel of alumni because they have been through what current students are going through.
PRSSA President Rosemond Dixon related the importance of the Public Relations Student Society. The Public Relations Student Society is a national organization that provides internships, scholarships, seminars, and conferences that help students become well-rounded professionals in the field. Dixon then introduced the panel of alumni and opened up the forum to the panel that each would give advice and testimonials according to selected topics.
Danielle Turner, graduate from Bowie State University in 2008, talked about choosing specialization. Turner related that she came into the undergraduate program at BSU in 2004 and she met an advisor who helped her narrow down her many interests. Turner advised everyone when choosing your specialization to analyze what you like doing, how long you've been doing it, and determine everything you know about the subject.
Turner's specialization is management. Currently she is managing with BSU TV. Turner loves supervising and managing in the entertainment industry and even though it is not easy it is fun for her. She plans to get a masters degree in organizational communications and human resources.
The next panelist to speak Sharon Glaster, BSU graduate of 2008, advised the audience about the importance of internships. In a power point Glaster expressed that completing internships is important because internships are decision making tools, they help you gain work experience in your field, and they increase your marketability.
Glaster expressed that before beginning a job search you have to evaluate yourself. Evaluating the skills, values, goals, and personal qualities you have will help you identify the right employer for you. When preparing to apply for internships Glaster suggested that a thorough research of the employer of interest is conducted, carefully review application instructions, prepare a resume, have someone review your materials, and make copies of everything for your records.
When trying to find internships Glaster related that going to career services, networking, attending employer informational sessions, asking faculty, and searching the Internet will be helpful. Glaster made copies of her PowerPoint as well as provided pamphlets, packets, and magazines about internships and other career oriented topics.
Pocahontas Simmons, graduate of Bowie state University in 2007, is pursuing her master's degree in organizational communications while being a teaching assistant for communications 101. Simmons stressed the importance of acquiring mentors. In order to select the right mentors for you Simmons related that you have to do research and pick people that are honest, flexible, and committed to helping and challenging you to succeed.
Acquire mentors in different aspects of your life such as extracurricular activities and academics said Simmons. Simmons started as a public relations major and an upperclassmen mentor of hers helped her connect with other people that would help her along her path.
Mentors will not only help advise but they will also help you in choosing organizations to become involved in, as well as help you get internships and jobs. Connecting with Simmons mentors helped her be able to have many great opportunities like presenting on a panel at Harvard University last year.
Brandon T. Todd, graduate of BSU in 2007, talked about proper business attire and etiquette. Todd advised everyone to wear tan, navy, white, gray, or black. Ladies should wear skirts with stockings and stud earrings. Males should wear suits with a proper tie that is not too loud. Todd sympathized that even though it may seem boring to wear certain colors you can still add personal style with textures and cuts.
Theodora Childs graduated from BSU in 2006 and is pursuing an mba in human resource management. Childs suggested that when finding your path postgraduate you must make goals and plans. While making your goals and plans you must have alternate plans for obstacles and changes in your life that will arrive. Childs related that you might not always do what you planned or get instant gratification from your degree everything takes time.
In order to move up in your postgraduate path Childs said that you must build a strong foundation and choose what is best for you. Childs related that the field of communications is very open and getting a degree in communications can help you be prepared for careers that are not in the field so you have many options to choose from.
Zennia Mclendon graduated from BSU in 2008 and also talked about postgraduate planning. Mclendon brought out that many students go through undergraduate schools and do not really have a plan. In those situations it is best to use mentors to help you and to not worry because communications is a good field to find yourself. Mclendon advises to not be discouraged if things are not great right away, know the difference between a job and a career, and do not give up on you dreams.
Dominique Dubose graduated from BSU in 2008 with a specialization in public relations and is now pursuing her master's degree in organizational communications. Dubose brought out that the most important thing to acquire throughout your career is networks. Networking is a support system of people sharing information in groups with a common interest.
Dubose stressed that you must get to know as many people as possible professionals, teachers, coworkers, and peers. Internships and mentors help gain networks that will help you throughout your career with different things you may need. Dubose related that in the field of communications it is not always what you know, but who you know that will help you succeed.
John Satterwaithe graduated from BSU in 2006 and now works for BSU TV. Satterwaithe said that he will always be a student because technology s always changing and he is always learning. Satterwaithe has been working in the film and photography industry for 20 years and has taped many dignitaries and celebrities.
Networking, resources, job fairs, and the web will leave a lasting impression and will help you. Satterwaithe encourages everyone to remain positive because anything is possible with the right attitude.
The last panelist Tiffany Toney graduated from BSU in 2008 as well. Toney's specialization was broadcast journalism and she has been successful so far in her career because she says she open to change. Toney advises that everyone always keep business cards with them because you never know who you will meet, and you should strive to meet someone everywhere you go.
Toney also suggested that if there is nothing holding you back don't be afraid to relocate. Also be simple and save your money being prepared financially and having education will help you go far in whatever you decide to do.
After the panelists spoke the floor was open to the audience to ask questions and then socialize and network with the panelists and members of PRSSA. The PRSSA chapter at BSU is just coming back but has many plans for future programs, forums, speakers, and panels to come.
PRSSA is open to all majors that would like to develop communication techniques and acquire knowledge and opportunities in the field of communications. If you are interested in joining PRSSA contact Dr. Babb or Rosemond Dixon. The next official meeting of PRSSA will be December 3rd at 4 p.m. in the Martin Luther King Jr. building room 217.